This month’s Book Club selection is The Tears of Achilles by Hélène Monsacré, available online from the CHS. Originally published in French as Les larmes d’Achille: Héros, femme et souffrance chez Homère, this new addition to the Hellenic Studies Series is translated into English by Nicholas J. Snead, with an introduction by Richard P. Martin.
Kosmos Society members will all be reading the Introduction, and III.1 “Crying in the Heroic Space of the Iliad“. Individuals can choose which additional chapters to read (or the whole thing—the print book is only 198 pages long).
Achilles—warrior and hero—by the protocols of Western culture, should never cry. And yet Homeric epic is full of his tears and those of his companions at Troy. This path-blazing study by Hélène Monsacré shows how later ideals of stoically inexpressive manhood run contrary to the poetic vision presented in the Iliad and Odyssey. The epic protagonists, as larger-than-life figures who transcend gender categories, are precisely the men most likely to weep.
Monsacré pursues the paradox of the tearful fighter through a series of lucid and detailed close readings, and examines all aspects of the interactions between men and women in the Homeric poems. Her illuminating analysis, first published in French in 1984, remains bold, fresh, and compelling for anyone touched—like Achilles—by a world of grief.
The discussion will start and continue in the Kosmos Society forum; the Google+ Hangout will be on Tuesday, April 24 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (the link will be posted in the forum just beforehand).